A major aim of conservation today is the maintenance of biodiversity. Practically, this pursuit might involve protecting a representative sample of the current biotic diversity (where diversity can have a variety of different meanings as in Vane‐Wright et al. 1991), safeguarding species with traits that may be correlated with susceptibility to extinction (see International Council for Bird Preservation 1992), or protecting those species that are currently categorized as under short‐term threat of extinction. Priority areas for conservation may vary, however, depending on which of these three approaches is taken. We investigated the designation of priority areas using these different approaches for Afrotropical antelope. Sites were selected on the basis of (1) biotic diversity—simple species richness and taxonomic diversity; (2) uniqueness of the fauna relative to other sites—how geographically restricted the component species were; and (3) degree of endangerment of the fauna. When insufficient sites to represent all the species could be selected, there was little agreement between the priority sites selected using the different methods. Sites selected by each approach were also generally poor at representing the diversity components ranked highly by other approaches. Also, many of the species were represented in only one site in the selected network, which on its own probably does not represent a viable population for the species. Therefore, it is important that the precise aims and consequences of any selection procedure be understood. A combination of different approaches, emphasizing different aspects of biodiversity and implemented sequentially, may be the best compromise for preserving a full range of biotic diversity.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Apr 1, 1995
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